Time to Move On

So long TypePad, hello WordPress!

After some careful consideration and a few months spent using WordPress for another project, it became obvious that it was time to migrate my blog to a new platform. I have fond memories of TypePad, which has been my blogging platform pretty much from the start and one that I’ve been with since they began. I was a beta tester, which was a fun community to be involved with and where I made blog pals I’m still friends with to this day.

I loved TypePad when it was in its heyday, but things have changed and it’s a different company now. It seems stagnant and there’s very little innovation in either features or design. Now that I’ve used WordPress for a few months, the platform’s strengths, ease of use, feature set and design templates make the decision to transfer over a no-brainer. Plus, it’s free. F-R-E-E! (Other than having to pay to use my own domain name, a mere $18.) Paying TypePad for a pro-account with a stagnant feature set seems like a big waste of money. I’m trying not to think too hard why I haven’t done this earlier.

One thing that kept me from making the switch was the thought that it would be a tremendous pain in the butt. I’d heard horror stories. To my surprise, transferring over to WordPress was quick and easy. The tedious part will be fixing the links (and with lists of book recommendations, there are lots of them) so they point to the correct pages. I’m in the process now of fixing all TypePad links, going through all 2,880 posts one-at-a-time by hand. It’s actually been a mostly enjoyable and interesting stroll through my eight years of blogging. Eventually, everything will be tidied up and I’ll close the TypePad chapter of my blogging experience for good.

So, if you’re using the 2thingsatonce.com address, you’ve already found it. If you’re not (and you’re using some variation of twothingsatonce.typepad.com) please switch over. There will come a time when I delete this version of the blog altogether and you’ll find a dead-end.

So, check your bookmarks and make sure you follow me over to 2thingsatonce.com.

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Delurking Day: Just Under the Wire

So, apparently *today* is Delurking Day. (I Googled it a few days ago and couldn’t find a difinitive answer on the exact date and then I promptly forgot all about it.)

For all of those who quietly peek in on this blog and yet rarely (or never) leave a comment, this is your time to give a shout out and let me know you’re out there. Say hello, everybody, and to each of you, my sincere thanks for visiting now, and hopefully throughout the year.

Cheers!

Time For a New Look

NaBloPoMo, Day 5

As some of you have already noticed, I shook things up on the blog last night by giving it a makeover, because it’s not like I had anything else I really needed to be doing.

Thanks for the early thumbs up, friends. I wish I could take credit for the new look but I simply plugged my stuff in to a new template. While poking around on the Typepad site, I discovered a few new (beta) themes that piqued my interest and started playing around. I like what I’ve got so far, but it’s very much a work in progress. There are a number of kinks in the template that need to be worked out; it’s by far the buggiest new toy in the TypePad toolbox that I’ve played with in a quite a while.

I like that this design maintains the crisp, clean look that I prefer, while punching it up with some color. Best of all, it allows me to create a banner using my photography. (I’d given up on having a unique banner, acknowledging I have neither the time nor patience to try and design myself a banner in Photoshop. Finally, TypePad has made it as simple as uploading a photo to create an original banner.) The nifty thing about this theme in particular is how it serves up a complimentary color scheme based on the photo used. (They actually give you three palettes to choose from.) So, as I change the banner, I’ll be freshening up the entire look of the site all at once.

My least favorite aspect of the new design is the TypePad profile junk that’s currently stuck at the top of the left column. In their quest to incorporate social media, they’ve got this follower/following thing that’s exclusive to the TypePad community; with Twitter and my own RSS blog reader, I don’t need nor use the TypePad version, especially because it is so insular. Hopefully there will be a way for me to remove this block and replace it with Recent Comments, a much more interesting and dynamic section of the page.

I also removed the “Link Within” related posts that appeared with each post. They weren’t used all that often by visitors on the site and with this new design they just added to the clutter. Finally, I’ve removed the ads. In all the time they’ve been there, even if I combined the pennies I’ve generated from Google and Amazon, it hasn’t been enough to get me a check for the minimum payout. I’m just too small potatoes.

Saturday 3 p.m. ~ Art on the Walls

Hanging the Art

NaBloPoMo, Day 1

It’s November (November!!?!) and masochistic bloggers know what that means–it’s National Blog Posting Month!

Oh, heck, why not? But I’ll blog every day just for one month, got it? That’s it. And I’m warning you now, this month may be a little heavy on the photograph posts, since I’m up to my neck in digital images. Every free moment this weekend has been spent consolidating my digital image library onto one large external hard drive. It’s a project that will carry me well into the week, as I transfer, organize and tag nearly 10,000 images dating back to 2006. If I really want to kill myself, I could drag out the CDs I have with images dating back another few years, shots taken with my very first digital camera, a 3 megapixel Sony Powershot. I just might do that; there are some photos from the Tetons I wouldn’t mind seeing again and improving upon with some more advanced digital darkroom techniques.

The weekend was good, the high point of which was my good friend Annie’s 50th birthday celebration. A dozen of us gathered at one long table in the private upstairs room at the always delicious Campagnola; an interesting and diverse collection of friends representing all five decades of Annie’s life. She’s the first of my close band of friends to make the leap into the next half century and I can safely say, if every celebration is this fun and filled with this much laughter, I look forward to us all hitting the mark.

And finally, to the real subject of this post, what I was doing at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon–hanging pictures. Yep, whacking nails into the freshly painted walls. Nothing acts as a better impetus to clean your house than the sudden prospect of friends coming over for a pre-birthday gathering. And that major task I’ve been putting off–hanging the art back up on the walls–what better time to do that too?

This finishing touch to our home redo project really sets off the color in the room. The walls and the artwork (mostly photographs) look great together. The wall color really sets off the art and the art now pops off the wall, as opposed to getting lost in the drab white of before. I’m thrilled with the way it looks. A few pieces returned to their original locations, most everything else we changed up and I’m really happy with the way everything seemed to come together and fall into place.

I Did It ~ 365 Straight Days of Blogging!

One year ago today, I unintentionally began a personal project, posting to this blog every day for a year. I didn’t realize it at the time, it just kind of happened as I began in late October of 2008, rolled on through November’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), and just kept going. After a few months, I decided to see how long I could go, one day at a time, and then about halfway through, I was on a mission to see if I could make it through an entire year of posting once a day.

Meaningless as it may be in the grand scheme of things, I mark this year with a certain sense of accomplishment. I saw it as a creative exercise, getting myself to sit down (even when I didn’t necessarily want to) to compose a post every day for a year, displaying more diligence than with any journal I’ve ever kept. I rarely lacked for material but often had to squeeze in the time.

Often the spontaneous posts (those I never would have written had I not wanted to play the game and get an entry in for the day) were some of my best received. Many times I sat down with one thing in mind and hit the “publish” button with quite a different post, surprising myself with what resulted. I managed to post on election day, after working over 20 hours; I posted from my vacation in the middle of the Caribbean; and I occasionally drove my friends crazy as I searched desperately for a connection to the interwebs, so I could make my post of the day while away from home.

I’m also proud that very rarely did I have to punt in order to make my deadline. It was never for lack of something to say and almost always came down to a matter of timing. On a few occasions I nearly forgot and barely squeaked through in time. A few times, I was literally heading up to bed when–d’oh!!–I’d realize I have one last thing to do before calling it a day.

One side effect I’d hoped to gain from my daily postings was an increase in readership to the site which never happened. That was a bit of a disappointment but I kept on because, while it might have been nice, that wasn’t the reason why I was doing it.

And now that I’ve reached the milestone (actually 365 + one posts in a row) I’m going to take a break tomorrow and intentionally break the string. That way I won’t be tempted to go for another year.

Fiddling Around

I was going to blog about this, that or the other thing when I noticed that TypePad has posted a CSS hack for moving the navbar above the banner and of course I had to try it. Whenever TypePad introduces some new bangle or (god forbid) a new set of designs, I lose at least an hour playing around with the new toys. I just can’t help it.

So, there it is up above. See what you think. I think I’d like it even better if I had a personalized banner that was a tad bit wider so I’ll keep it for now in case that day ever comes. Yeah, the chances of me home growing the banner anytime soon are pretty much nil. I just don’t have the Photoshop skills (or the patience to learn) so for the time being, it shall remain clean, lean, and mean green.

Happy Blogiversary (Plus Six)

I was recently reminded that it’s blogiversary time for 2things@once. Well sort of. Six years ago this month I became a beta tester for the then neophyte blogging service, TypePad. It was a lot of fun and I met many blog friends, some of whom are still visitors to this site. (I’d actually begun blogging six months earlier, using a different service which was hosted by a friend. I discovered TypePad and the rest is history.)

Like all yearly milestone markers, I feel a mixture of “really, it’s only been six years?!” and “wow, what a long six years it’s been.” I’ve enjoyed every aspect of it and fully expect to continue on for another six years. In this era of Twitter and Facebook (both of which I use) and any new social media yet to sweep the globe, I still enjoy the long format and flexibility that blogging affords me. It never seems a chore, even now as I’m undergoing a personal challenge to blog every single day for a year. What began as a way to archive and share my book reviews has blossomed into a lot more, a creative outlet I couldn’t have foreseen and have thoroughly enjoyed, even if it does at times feel like I’m the only one reading it.

At this anniversary time, let me say thank you to those of you who find my musings, opinions, observations, and photography entertaining enough to pop in whenever you do. An extra-special thanks to those who leave their own thoughts from time to time in the comments. Your participation is appreciated more than you know.

My Very Own Dot Com

I have no idea why it took me so long but I finally purchased my own domain for this here blog. 2thingsatonce.com is live and it's mine. It points to the original blog site, since it's still hosted by TypePad and I don't want to break all the old links, but it seemed silly to not own the domain for "official" purposes.

How To Easily Kill An Hour While Laughing Uncontrollably

See, this is why I love Twitter. It led me to my new favorite website this morning (via Halfpress). The name says it all: awkwardfamilyphotos.com. It’s brilliant. Equal parts hilarious and horrifying and altogether addictive. Like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one page of photos.

This evening, I mentioned it while we were sitting around after dinner and before you could say matching sweaters, Jen had the laptop out and we were all chortling and aghast at the festival of awkwardness compiled on this site.

This one and this one are a good place to start. Be sure to read the captions, they’re wicked funny. And settle in, you’re going to be there awhile. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Delurking Day, Better Late Than Never

Delurking Day was two weeks ago and I totally missed it but I didn’t want the month to go by without having my do-over De-Day. So, do me a favor–come out of the shadows any and all of you who regularly, semi-regularly or irregularly visit this site and give me a shout out in the comments. It will do this blog’s fragile ego a world of good.